How is the low prize pool actually affecting TI 12?

By Kenneth Williams


Oct 15, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

TI 12 is in full swing, but does the startingly low prize pool take away from the excitement?

Dota 2 is going through some strange times. While massive gameplay patches and free cosmetics are fantastic for the casual player base, the competitive side has been going through it. The cancellation of the Dota Pro Circuit and the relatively tiny TI prize pool signal a major shift in how professional Dota 2 will be played. With the purse of The International sitting at the lowest it has been in ten years, how is it affecting the event for both players and spectators?

Dota 2 fans expected a low prize pool after Valve announced it would be disconnecting the battle pass from TI, but few expected such a drastic decrease. In three years, the prize pool went from $40 million to $18 million down to just $3 million. It’s undeniable that skins were a major factor for players contributing to the prize pool. Valve’s new skinless in-game update just doesn’t cut it for casuals. The current pool of $3,025,285 is proof.

While it’s undoubtedly a disappointment for the eventual champion, does it actually have any impact on the tournament?

Despite low prize pool, TI 12 hasn’t changed much

2023 has been a rough year for Dota 2 esports fans, with both the Lima Major and Bali Major being showered with criticism for poor production standards. However, with Valve directly hosting TI, almost all of those problems have gone away. There’s still the odd game-breaking glitch putting things on hold, but stream quality has been consistently smooth for the entire group stage. 

As for the pros, they’re still taking TI as seriously as ever despite the low prize pool. Gamin Gladiators carry Anton “dyrachyo” Shkredov famously declared he would play at TI for “beer and crackers” in a prior interview. Liquid offlaner Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg bruskly turned down a chat with Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner in favor of watching a replay. The general mood of TI is still as uptight as it has always been.

While the players themselves may see it as the same, the only drastic difference is with the fans. Dota 2 forums and social media blew up over the last few weeks with criticism over the prize pool, with some declaring the TI era to be over entirely. It’s even raised some concerns over the longevity of the competitive scene. There’s validity to those worries, and there’s denying that $3 million feels a lot less bombastic than $40 million. However, despite that downturn, pro perception, competitive quality, and production value remain the same as they ever were.


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